When I saw "Spirit Day" listed for August 21 on my Google calendar of Chinese holidays, I figured it would not be along the lines of our American school "spirit days."
Matt and I went out for dinner that night and as we were coming home, we saw many small fires on the streets where people were burning paper money for the spirits.
Sometimes it's hard to believe that as Chinese society becomes so modern and materialistic that people still hold to traditional supernatural beliefs, but so far, Chinese culture has managed to incorporate a lot of Western materialism while maintaining belief in ghosts and supernatural activity, to the point where many people believe they must burn paper money for their ancestors so that they don't do anything bad to them.
One of the students I tutor told me a few stories that make me think a lot of this preservation of traditional beliefs is handed down in China because grandparents have such a strong influence on Chinese children. Most Chinese children are raised by their grandparents while their parents both work. Grandparents often tell impressionable children about ghost stories and how to keep spirits from bothering you, so many kids grow up with these beliefs even though they are also becoming more influenced by Western culture. The boy I tutor told me that his grandmother said whenever you walk near funeral processions, you should spit on the ground 3 times to avoid the ghost of the dead person bothering you or entering your body. She also told him that whenever you are by yourself in the dark, you should never look behind you and you should tap both of your shoulders, or a ghost will get you. My student is pretty modern and mature, but he still feels a little scared by these stories. Rationally, he believes they aren't true, but when you grow up believing them, it's hard to completely disregard them.